Our public school system can and must be turned around…
I took this photograph at a deep rural school in Limpopo early in 2015. It haunts me because it captures the sad state of 80% of our schools and the plight of 11 million of our youth. They are trapped and 21 years into the new South Africa not much has changed. They wait in the shadows for something to happen and I fear that they will wreak a terrible vengeance on all of us who allowed this to continue.
More than 90 % of our children in South Africa attend public schools and very few of these schools (approximately 20%) are considered to be “functional”. I often wonder whether it is possible to “save” our public school system given our realities on the ground, but have become more and more convinced that must do so and can do so, if we move beyond what we have always done. Our attempts to improve learner outcomes across our nation have largely failed because we continue to do more of the same, instead of doing things differently.
Doing things differently means that we need to commit to the following:
- Acknowledge that education is in crisis and in so doing commit to a process of deep change in our districts and schools on the basis of sound educational principles.
- Personalise teaching and learning to so that we factor in learning styles and strengths to prepare them for fulfilling and relevant entrepreneurship/employment once they leave the world of school into the world of work.
- To this end, we need to coach our teachers to ensure that every lesson is well planned, engaging, exciting and relevant to the needs of every learner.
- Address all the needs of learners by focusing on their intellectual, moral, spiritual goals, cultural, aesthetic, social, physiological and vocational goals
The work of our School Turnaround Foundation can be summed as follows:
1.We will develop Continuum from Cradle to Career to Citizenship where we hold the hand of EVERY learner towards achieving 100% throughput, quality passes so that they are employable active citizens and/or entrepreneurs.
2.We will meet the needs of the WHOLE CHILD where we address the holistic needs of our learners through academic, psycho-social, extra and co-curricular activities to address their challenges and ensure that they able to succeed irrespective of their context and become well rounded citizens.
3.We will champion and implement HIGH EXPECTATIONS and PERFORMANCE where we develop our teachers to have high expectations for learners (eg. Mathematics instead of Maths Literacy, all our learners must read with comprehension and writing with persuasion) and able to teach and facilitate learning that is engaging, motivating and rooted in their dreams, strengths and targets towards ensuring that learners build self-esteem, increase confidence and improve academic performance.
4.We will develop Schools of Excellence through Deep Change so that we develop and support our schools to excel in terms of leadership, management, blended learning, functionality, discipline, synergy, trust, attraction and retention of high quality teachers and being relevant to the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Please email me if you would like to know more about us at: email@example.com